Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
Surfers love the ocean, but surfboards and surf apparel are among the least environmentally responsible products. We set out to change that by educating surfers and ocean lovers about the problem and creating the most eco-responsible surfboards and supplies on earth. We weren't sure if our approach would resonate with the market, so we selected a set of products we would want for ourselves. It was a smashing success from day one. We make our reclaimed wooden surfboards, bodysurfing handplanes and wooden surf tools ourselves in a barn workshop. Our apparel is sourced from eco-friendly suppliers and our screen printing is done by a local non-profit that gives all proceeds to local education programs.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
We did a pop-up shop at a holiday craft fair at an ocean-focused visitor center. We promoted via press outreach, social media and word of mouth. We generate our revenue through a mix of direct retail at occasional pop-up shops and through wholesale channels. We leverage Shopify's online order tools and POS for all of it.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
Shopify is the most critical technology in our quiver. QuickBooks is very important, and we are beginning to explore using BrandBoom given our need for richer wholesale management tools. And, of course, Instagram and Facebook have been invaluable...along with MailChimp. We ship ourselves, but will be moving to a local distributor shortly.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Create a unique vision that taps into a large market segment. Focus your execution...every detail...on a simple set of brand values. Ours are craftsmanship. responsibility. adventure. And use state of the art technology that can grow as you do to make execution as friction-free as possible.